Clairvoyance can be a terrible burden. Thankfully, it didn’t take any special powers to foresee Lincoln Property Company returning to the Oak Lawn Committee for their Lincoln Katy Trail project. After seeing the reactions of City Plan Commissioners on Sept. 22 to Lincoln’s plan to skip a re-blessing by the Oak Lawn Committee to their very different plan, I saw it as a foregone conclusion.

Had Plan Commission passed the project without renewed OLC support, it would have been precedent setting. I spoke with a few OLC old-timers and the only time any of them can remember that happening was when Victory was taking shape with the American Airline Center’s birth back in the 1990s. I was told that while OLC had a seat at the table, they were largely ignored as the area’s plan was being pushed with mayoral support.

I think we can all agree that the OLC’s success in managing Oak Lawn development has resulted in a lot better neighborhood than Victory. In fact, Victory got top honors as a failure in D Magazine’s recent “Dallas and The New Urbanism” special edition with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science called out separately for its poor streetscape, saying it makes “Field Street a miserable place to walk.”

Of course, what would this project be without arrogance?

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It’s not mere hyperbole — the worlds of architecture, urban planning, and construction are lacking in representation of people of color.

In fact, the American Institute of Architect’s 2016 “Diversity in the Profession of Architecture” found that the one thing most architects — regardless of race — could agree on was that people of color are underrepresented in that field. Similar studies have found the same is true in urban planning and construction.

(graph courtesy AIA)

Interestingly, just about every discussion in all three industries regarding diversity involves strengthening the industry’s presence among students through outreach programs with high schools, etc.

Michael Ford, a Detroit-based architect, brought the whole issue of diversity to the forefront with a 20 minute TED Talk last year. In his talk, he uses lyrics in hip-hop songs to show how they can serve as a very effective way to evaluate the good and bad of modern urban architecture. (more…)

CityMAP main graphic 1

If you missed part one, click here.  Overall, the documents and scenarios CityMAP put together are logical and straight-forward.  Most call for the submersion of key highways surrounding Dallas’ core aiding in traffic flow and neighborhood revitalization.

One calls for the rerouting of I-30 to the distant south and one calls for the removal of a portion of I-45 and US-75.  I’m all for the submersion and covering of these highways.  I’m faaaaaar from convinced on these other two.

Are you HIGH?

What happens to 45/75 traffic when it's partially removed. Everything scatters before returning to the highway.

What happens to 45/75 traffic when it’s partially removed. Everything scatters before returning to the highway.

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CityMAP main graphic 1

Last night I attended the first public roundup for the CityMAP project.  Haven’t heard of it?  Well, neither had I until 72 hours ago.  Turns out it’s a framework for traffic mitigation and neighborhood revitalization that’s been put together for the past 15 months based on input from people who know about traffic and neighboring residents.  So far, it’s unlike the crony-driven Preston Center plan.  CityMAP is based more on research than avarice.

And … oh my … is there research.  There’s a 15-page summary for the kiddies or the 351-page doorstop for the minutia-driven.

Guess what I read?  Yup.  Both.  What can I say, I need more fiber in my diet.

Before I get too far in, don’t expect a bloodbath from me.  There’s only one plan component that I question and just one scenario I think is totally doolally … but it’s the internet, so I have to tease you into reading more.

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Former City Council member Angela Hunt has an important message in her latests 'Lakewood Advocate' column. (Photo: Lakewood Advocate)

Former City Council member Angela Hunt has an important message in her latests ‘Lakewood Advocate’ column. (Photo: Lakewood Advocate)

I can’t stress enough how important it is to read Angela Hunt’s latest column in the Advocate. I’ll give you the basic jist, but it’s definitely worth a read because it falls right in line with what Vishaan Chakrabarti told us ahead of The Dallas Festival of Ideas: Quit worrying so much about being “world class” and start worrying more about quality of life. Take care of that and the rest will follow.

Jump from an excerpt from Hunt’s column that is particularly important.

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Dusk Skyline

Thanks for an unexpectedly large crowd, AIA Dallas has moved its screening of the 1967 documentary “The Walls Are Rising” to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The film which was a call to action for the city in regards to urban planning, features photos and narration from Austin-based photographer Rob Perryman.

Find out more about the film here, and purchase tickets on the AIA Dallas website.

Photo courtesy Patrick McDonnell/Downtown Dallas Inc.

Photo courtesy Patrick McDonnell/Downtown Dallas Inc.

If the last year is any indication, 2015 is shaping up to be another banner year for real estate development in Downtown Dallas.

This is according to downtown advocates, urban planners, and real estate and development experts, who gathered Friday to talk about city living in downtown at a panel, sponsored by the Dallas Business Journal.

Moderated by John Crawford, President and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc., an advocacy group for Downtown Dallas, the panel shared candid insights into past successes, lessons learned, and where the area is headed in the future.

“There’s a pretty distinct spirit and energy in Downtown Dallas and we’ve reached a point of permanency, as far as what downtown has become,” said Crawford. “Residentially, we continue to be about 94 percent occupancy in all the buildings that have been converted and the new construction and depending on who you talk to, we have between 6,000 and 8,000 units under construction from 2015 to 2017. There’s an urban lifestyle that is continuing to catch on down here.”

Panelists included Theresa O’Donnell, Chief Planning Officer for the city of Dallas; Yogi Patil, an Associate at HKS Architects Inc.; Steve Shepherd of the Downtown Residents Council; and Michael Tregoning, President of Headington Company. Jump to read more!

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Dusk Skyline

Past, meet future.

It’s just incredible how often we think and talk about the destiny of our city and how it is tied to the Trinity River. The discussion we’re having about this natural resource that bisects Dallas, some of them behind closed doors, isn’t a new one. In fact, we’ve been talking about the Trinity River’s influence since at least 1967, when Rob Perryman, an Austin writer and photographer, took 8,000 photos of our downtown and turned them into a narrated 40-minute movie called “The Walls Are Rising.” It was a commision of the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, whose goal was to spur development through awareness.

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